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Flat Feet & Back Pain

By James Patterson ; Updated August 14, 2017

The normal human foot features an arch that helps provide stability and support to the body while also acting as a sort of shock absorber for walking, running and jumping. When those arches are too low, it is referred to as "flat feet" and may cause multiple problems including back pain. Learning how to deal with flat feet can help alleviate back pain and other symptoms associated with the condition.


Some forms of flat feet are simply a result of your genetic makeup and the way your bones formed while growing. In extreme cases, flat feet may be a result of a bone fracture or dislocation, or from two bones in the foot fusing together. It is normal for children to have flat feet, as the arches in feet form throughout childhood.


Other symptoms associated with flat feet other than back pain include foot pain, especially around where your arch should be; difficulty standing on your toes or moving your heel; an inability to participate in sports; and swelling along the inside of the ankle.

Relation to Back Pain

If you experience back pain in relation to your flat feet, it is likely because the feet are meant to provide stability to the entire upper body. When that stability is diminished because of the lack of an arch in each foot, the muscles in the back have to work harder to support themselves.


Flat feet are usually not considered a serious enough condition to warrant major surgery, unless they are caused by a bone breakage or a tear in one of the tendons in the foot. Your doctor will likely have you undergo certain physical therapy exercises to help relieve the pain in your foot and allow you to participate in physical activity. Shoe inserts or other orthotic devices may help provide increased support to your foot and relieve some of your common symptoms such as back pain.

Stretches to Relieve Back Pain

If you have flat feet and experience frequent back pain, stretches may help to alleviate some of that pain by targeting the muscles in your legs and back. By stretching and strengthening these muscles, you will give them the extra support and flexibility needed to reduce the pain and discomfort you feel. Simply arching your back while sitting or standing and holding for 10 to 15 seconds then relaxing is an effective stretching technique. While sitting in a chair, you can also twist your back in either direction and hold for 10 to 15 seconds to provide temporary pain relief through stretching.

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